UFC on ABC 1 Prelims: Joselyne Edwards Downs Yanan Wu in Octagon Debut

By Brian Knapp Jan 16, 2021

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Joselyne Edwards proved she belongs at the sport’s highest level.

The promotional newcomer made a successful Ultimate Fighting Championship debut as a short-notice replacement for Bethe Correia, as she captured a unanimous decision against Yanan Wu in the featured UFC on ABC 1 prelim on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Edwards (10-2, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 nods from the judges.

Wu (11-4, 1-3 UFC) had her moments — she did her best work in the third round, where she connected with a right hook that snapped her opponent’s head sideways — but appeared to be a step behind the Octagon rookie for much of their 15-minute encounter. Edwards threatened with an armbar in the first round and assaulted her counterpart with damaging ground-and-pound in the second, showing off the well-rounded skills that allowed her to stand out on the regional scene.

Once-Beaten Felipe Decisions Tafa

Shooto Brazil veteran Carlos Felipe inched ever closer to a meaningful stake in a volatile division, as he took a contentious split decision from Justin Tafa in a three-round heavyweight battle. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Anders Ohlsson for Tafa, Paul Sutherland and Lukasz Bosacki for Felipe.

Tafa (4-2, 1-2 UFC) vaulted out to a strong start behind heavy kicks to the Brazilian’s lead leg and body in the first round. Felipe (10-1, 2-1 UFC) walked through the damage and started to turn the tide in the second half of Round 2, where he cracked the Aussie with a right hook to the face that resulted in immediate damage to the left eye. Tafa managed to regain his bearings in back-and-forth third round, as the two men stood forehead to forehead and let their hands fly.

Felipe has bounced back from a July 18 decision loss to Sergey Spivak with consecutive victories.

Efficient Emeev Edges Zawada

Former M-1 Global champion Ramazan Emeev won for the ninth time in 10 appearances, as he eked out a split decision over David Zawada in a three-round welterweight scrap. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards: Ben Cartlidge and David Lethaby for Emeev, Michael Bell for Zawada.

Emeev (20-4, 5-1 UFC) executed multiple takedowns and paired them with efficient standup. He connected with perhaps the most impactful blow of the fight at the end of the second round, where he cut Zawada (17-6, 1-3 UFC) near the left eye with a right hook from close range. Even in victory, Emeev was faced with considerable difficulty. Zawada battered his lead leg purple with repeated leg kicks and struck for a takedown of his own in Round 3, ultimately achieving full mount before squandering the position.

Three of Zawada’s six career losses have now resulted in split verdicts.

Melo Outpoints Reeling Moras

Babuino Gold Team’s Vanessa Melo rebounded from consecutive losses to Irene Aldana, Tracy Cortez and Karol Rosa, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over Sarah Moras in a three-round women’s bantamweight tilt. Melo (11-8, 1-3 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.

Moras (6-7, 3-6 UFC) spent almost the entire fight moving backward — a tactic that did not serve her interests. Melo advanced with steady pressure and unleashed a number of left hooks, one of which sent the Canadian’s mouthpiece flying in the second round. Blood flowed from Moras’ mouth and nose, as she attempted to establish her foothold with jabs and leg kicks. Those efforts ultimately failed.

A semifinalist on Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Moras has lost six of her past eight bouts.

Heavy-Handed Lingo Sinks Kilburn

Clean punching combinations and stellar takedown defense carried Fortis MMA export Austin Lingo to a unanimous decision over Jacob Kilburn in a three-round featherweight pairing. All three cageside judges scored it for Lingo (8-1, 1-1 UFC): 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.

Kilburn (8-4, 0-2 UFC) met with adversity immediately. Lingo decked the American Top Team rep with a right cross inside the first 30 seconds, had him reeling along the fence with punches and staggered the Dana White’s Contender Series alum with a sharp jab-cross combination during a subsequent exchange. Kilburn withstood his counterpart’s bid to finish, but he was still forced to play from behind. Lingo maintained his lead across the final 10 minutes, denied one takedown after another and extricated himself from an attempted kimura in the third round.

The 25-year-old Kilburn has suffered back-to-back defeats since joining the UFC roster in 2019.
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